THE TOP INDICATORS OF TOURNEY OVERACHIEVEMENT
It happens every year, doesn’t it? Somebody with no more knowledge of
college basketball than the colors of the school’s jerseys comes out of nowhere
to win your tourney pool. They pick UCLA because they’ve heard that John Wooden’s a pretty good coach. They confuse George Mason with
George Washington. They have a hunch about
Why is it that the people with the least knowledge of college basketball seem to win tourney pools at such an alarming rate? Is it all just dumb luck? Considering how much work I’ve put into solving the statistical mysteries of March Madness, that’s a pretty deflating idea to contemplate. But it’s a valid question—and one that was recently addressed in a roundabout way in Blink, Malcolm Gladwell’s national bestselling book about decision-making.
What Gladwell discovers, in his own words, is that “on straight-forward choices, deliberate analysis is best. When questions of analysis and personal choice start to get complicated—when we have to juggle many different variables—then our unconscious thought processes may be superior.”
That might seem counter-intuitive, but Gladwell offers several examples of how …